Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant

Belle & Sebastian

Matador, 2000

http://www.belleandsebastian.com

REVIEW BY: Jason Thornberry

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/24/2003

Aaaaah, the backlash has set in for this Scottish collaboration. It took a bit of time (this is album number four), but the 'coolies,' who dove onto the concept that B&S were maybe 'the new Smiths,' are now on to something else.

I doubt Stuart Murdoch, et al, really mind. Hot on the heels of a re-issue of several EPs of theirs, and the "Legal Man" single, comes this new CD, which I've already heard is 'nah, not as good this time…' I actually liked it better than 1998's bim_ad_daily_vault_print_250
The Boy With The Arab Strap. Nothing will probably approach the first experience I (or anyone) has had of hearing the band (for me, it was a grimy compilation tape from England, with bits of the Dog On Wheels EP), but Fold… actually surprised me, especially after hearing so many 'maybes' about it.

For starters, Stuart Murdoch relinquishes a bit of the vocal duties this time. Sharing the microphone and pen with Isobel Campbell, Sarah Martin, Chris Geddes, and Stevie Jackson. The femme vocals, in particular, though they have been done in the past, were quite impressive, and opened up each song, making the emotions in the lyrics all the more there.

Dunno why that is, but I guess it's just a long way of saying that the variety helped. Stuart David played on much of this CD, but left shortly thereafter, and is now focusing his attention on his other band, Looper. Recorded over the course of fourteen months, this breathes a bit more. It feels more spacious, thought out and planned, than, say, Tigermilk, which was recorded and mixed in a matter of days. There are also quite a number of 'guest musicians.' Session players, rather than the band grabbing acquaintances of theirs to help.

A plaintive, moody, record, but what did you really expect? Techno? Grindcore? Frat-core ready power-pap-punk? This probably won't surprise the quiet, studious mass of die-hards, or cause a melee at the next B&S-inspired poetry reading, but it doesn't sound like a band treading water either. I just saw a photo of the up-until-recently-never-interviewed Stuart Murdoch in Time magazine. I deeply respect this band. Instead of making themselves shift to fit the times, they're doing quite the opposite.

Rating: B

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© 2003 Jason Thornberry and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Matador, and is used for informational purposes only.